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Police cautions taxi operators over surge in violent robberies

Police have issued an advisory over a surge of violent robberies targeting taxi drivers.

According to the advisory, criminal gangs have in recent weeks been hiring taxi services only to turn against the drivers.

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“The DCI cautions taxi operators to be wary of an ongoing trend by criminal syndicates that are hiring taxi services for either long distances or trips with several pickup points while guised as cash-rich customers, only to turn violent robbers along the way.” Says the police.

According to police investigations, a member of a well-organized criminal ring often identifies a target that they deem vulnerable to a good deal of money out of the ordered trip, and whose car suits their need.

“The “customer” negotiates with the taxi driver on the charges for the trip, and while on the way communicates with one or more accomplices who will be conveniently waiting along the route. With promises of an extra inconvenience fee for the stop, the driver goes ahead to let onboard new passengers.” Reads the advisory.

On some occasions, the accomplices lie in wait at the drop off point with the route or destinations picked having secluded areas, where the gangs turn against the drivers, robs them off their vehicles and at times murder them in cold blood.

In one of the latest scenarios reported at Kikopey Police Post within Gilgil, Nakuru County on January 14, 2024, a 42-year-old male taxi operator in Nairobi CBD was hired by a customer to drive him to Nakuru using his motor vehicle. Once in Naivasha, the customer requested that they pick his two friends at Karagita area before setting off towards Nakuru.

A short moment into the final stretch of the journey, the passengers turned against the male driver, robbed him of his vehicle before dumping him at Diatomite area in Gilgil.

Once the incident was reported to police, a team of detectives from DCI Headquarters was deployed to launch a manhunt for the suspects, two of whom were traced to Bungoma County.

39-year-old Francis Ojerepata Omoindi and Jack Odhiambo Otieno aged 38 were both arrested, and the vehicle recovered, before being handed over to DCI Gilgil for further police action.

In their possession were seven sim cards, five national ID cards and two driving licences. Their case is ongoing at the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Naivasha as pursuit for other accomplices continue.

Police are now urging taxi operators to be vigilant and report any suspicion of danger to the police through the various police hotlines.

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